While Israel is fighting one war to defend its citizens from the brutal terrorists of Hamas, Israeli innovators continue to battle climate change. With a large number of Israelis called out of work to serve in the military reserves, its academic, science and private sectors are facing enormous strains. However, climate doesn’t wait. Fortunately, Roni Elhalal Givon – an environmental engineer with advanced degrees from Technion and the University of Haifa – is on the front lines. She is the founder and leader of an exciting group, Women in Energy IL.
Women in Energy is a part of Ignite The Spark, which bills itself as the ultimate destination for all things related to Israeli energy innovation. They are a community that promotes EnergyTech in Israel, with an emphasis on the following Sub Sectors of Energy:
• Renewable and Conventional Energy Sources
• Methods for Storing Energy
• Energy Efficiency & Smart Loads
• Hydrogen, T&D Advanced Technologies, CCUS, and Much More!
Ignite the Spark brings together key stakeholders under one roof. Today, they have over 3500+ community members. I had the privilege of interviewing their founder of Women in Energy, Roni Elhalal Givon.
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi: What is the specific problem that Women in Energy is trying to solve? How do you solve it?
Roni Elhalal Givon: When talking about impact and climate – it is essential to consider the social impact as well. In the energy industry, there is a gap between women and men – especially in senior management and leadership of energy companies and startups.
According to the international organization Irena, there are about 32% women in the global energy industry.
About four and a half years ago, I joined the team of Israel’s Energy Tech Innovation Community, Ignite The Spark, which united the Israeli energy ecosystem. Still, what was missing were more women in the daily discussions and events.
Almost four years ago, I founded the Women in Energy community in Israel. Today, over four hundred members from governmental offices, energy companies, entrepreneurs, researchers from academia, CEOs, and even more women attend our events.
We are supported by the Ministry of Energy and we have a close relationship with the Ministry’s management.
JLM: How can the community promote women in the energy industry?
REG: When I think about the community and how to promote women in the energy industry, I think about three things:
• How to bring more women into the energy ecosystem.
• How to keep them so that they come for a career and not a short term.
• A work plan that can guide and be applicable for individuals from students, recent graduates, and women early in their careers all the way up to senior management.
We hold meetings between women students and recent graduates with leading women in the energy industry, we conduct professional events and workshops, participate in an international mentoring program, maintain connections and joint activities with similar global communities, and soon we will open the first batch of Women In Energy corporate governance program.
JLM: What have been some of your biggest successes?
REG: In general, any activity is done for the first time, and seeing the number of women who want to come and contribute their time and professional knowledge or come to hear more about the energy industry is a success for me.
About two years ago, Israel’s Minister of Energy was a woman and we had an inspiring community meeting with her.Also, the recognition and support we receive from the Ministry of Energy is a success, and this shows the importance of the community in the eyes of the Ministry of Energy.
JLM: As you move ahead, are you looking for partners? Where and how others can help?
REG: The community unites the stakeholders. Therefore, one of the most important things in its activity is the creation of new relationships and partnerships.
We are looking for strategic partners for our activity, companies that, together with us, want to promote women in the energy industry and international partners that want to share knowledge and innovation.
JLM: What is your advice for other women who are just getting their start on energy issues?
REG: Join our community, participate in discussions and events, and thus get to know our wonderful ecosystem closely, be exposed to the many opportunities in it and gain the support of the entire community. Check out www.wie.ignitethespark.org.il and www.ignitethespark.org.il.